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174          MY    COUNTRY   AND    MY    PEOPLE

even with philanthropy, which is nothing strange even in the
West. The pillars of society, who in China are the most
photographed men in the daily papers and who easily donate
a hundred thousand dollars to a university or a civic hospital,
are but returning the money they robbed from the people back
to the people. In this, the East and the West are strangely
alike. The difference is that in the West there is always the
fear of exposure, whereas in the East it is taken for granted,
The rampant corruption of the Harding administration did,
after all, end up in one official being brought to justice. How-
ever unfair that was on him, it did seem to say that graft is
wrong.

In China, though a man may be arrested for stealing a
purse, he is not arrested for stealing the national treasury, not
even when our priceless national treasures in the National
Museum of Peiping are stolen by the responsible authorities
and publicly exposed. For we have such a thing as the necessity
of political corruption, which follows as a logical corollary of
the theory of "government by gentlemen" (see page 196).
Confucius told us to be governed by gentlemen, and we
actually treat them like gentlemen, without budgets, reports
of expenditures, legislative consent of the people or prison cells
for official convicts. And the consequence is that their moral
endowments do not quite equal the temptations put in their
way, and thus many of them steal.

The beauty of our democracy is that the money thus robbed
or stolen always seeps back to the people, if not through a
university, then through all the people who depend upon the
official and serve him, down to the house servant. The servant
who squeezes his master is but helping him to return the money
to the people, and he does it with a clear conscience. The
house servant has a domestic problem behind him, differing in
magnitude but not in nature from the domestic problem of
his master.

Certain social characteristics arise from the family system,
apart from nepotism and official corruption already mentioned.
They may be summed up as the lack of social discipline. It
defeats any form of social organization, as it defeats the civil
service system through nepotism. It makes a man "sweep the